Monday, December 24, 2012

Sachin Facebook Covers

These are yours to share. Enjoy!

The God of 50 Overs

After Record Career, Tendulkar Retires From One-Day Cricket | Huw Richards

LONDON, 23 DEC 2012  — Modern cricket’s division into three formats means that retirement for leading players is likely to come in stages. One version of the game is abandoned in order to facilitate continuation in another.
So it has proved with the most anticipated and debated departure in the game’s history. Debate has raged — above all in his native India but also everywhere cricket is played and watched — over the future of batting legend Sachin Tendulkar since his poor performances in the series of five-day test matches against England that concluded last week.

The answer came Sunday, with an announcement through the official Web site of the Board of Control for Cricket in India: Tendulkar is quitting one-day internationals.

“I have decided to retire from the one-day format of the game,” he said in his statement. “I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup-winning Indian team. The preparatory process to defend the World Cup in 2015 should begin early and in right earnest.”

“I would like to wish the team all the very best for the future,” he added. “I am eternally grateful to all my well-wishers for their unconditional support and love over the years.”

Ratnakar Shetty, chief administrative officer of the cricket board, said that “Tendulkar’s decision is not a shocker for B.C.C.I. He was waiting for the right time.”

Tendulkar’s decision means he will not be available for India’s series of three one-day internationals against Pakistan, set to begin Dec. 30. But it implies that he intends to continue in five-day tests, adding to his all-time records of 194 matches and 51 scores of 100 or more, taking a career that began when he was 16 up to and beyond his 40th birthday next March.

This piecemeal departure — he quit Twenty20 internationals after a single match in 2006 — has the virtue of allowing his remarkable career in the one-day format in its own right. Here, too, the numbers astonish — and all stand as records. He played in 463 one-dayers for India and scored 18,426 runs. There are 49 innings of 100 or more. Next in line is the Australian Ricky Ponting, whose own retirement was completed this month when he quit tests. Ponting is nearly 5,000 runs behind on 13,704, and reached three figures on 30 occasions.

Born in 1973, Tendulkar was 10 years old when India, in one of the greatest shocks in the history of the game, defeated West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final, unleashing a wave of enthusiasm in cricket’s largest nation for shorter formats. He acted as a ball boy when the 1987 tournament was held in India and was part of the first generation of Indian players for whom the one-day game was more than a sideshow.

It also played an important part in his own development, ensuring that he developed his attacking instincts to the full. Tendulkar began his one-day career batting, as he did in tests, in the middle order. That explains why he played 79 matches before scoring 100 for the first time. But once he moved up, the big scores came regularly as he was enabled to deploy his exceptional speed of footwork and range of stroke play in the innings-defining early overs.

Statistically, his greatest single triumph was the first double century in one-day internationals, struck against South Africa in Gwalior, India, in 2010 — scoring exactly 200 not out, a record since eclipsed by his teammate and regular opening partner Virender Sehwag.

He can never have batted better than in making 98 against India’s fiercest rival, Pakistan, at Centurion, South Africa, during the 2003 World Cup. Good bowling was destroyed by lightning stroke play, and a challenging target was made to look simple. Anyone watching was privileged to see the world’s greatest current practitioner of the art of batsmanship playing at the absolute limit of his abilities.

The greatest single moment was India’s clinching of the World Cup for the second time after a 28-year gap on his home ground in Mumbai last year. Tendulkar’s contribution to the match was limited, but his importance to Indian cricket over the years was beautifully expressed by teammate Virat Kohli as India’s players carried Tendulkar around the ground: “He has carried Indian cricket for 20 years, now it is time for us to carry him.”

To have become a true passenger is a fate that Tendulkar did not deserve, and will now avoid. And if it prolongs his contribution to the longer game, so much the better.

It has been tough on Sachin & his family

Indian team members found out during Sachin Tendulkar's debut tour of Pakistan that he was a somnambulist. He would sleepwalk in the middle of the night. Twenty three years on, just days before retiring from ODIs, he was still waking up late in the night, at times even at 2 am. But he was wide awake, shadow practising! Such is his obsession with cricket.

So, what prompted this tough decision to quit ODIs?

Only those very close to him could gather the strength to even suggest to Tendulkar that perhaps it was time for him to shoulder arms to the shorter format of the game which he has been breathing since the day he took to the field at Shivaji Park as a 11-year-old.

"It's been tough on him and his immediate family. The call, though, has been his own and the timing too. You can take Tendulkar out of the game but not cricket out of him. The routine is still the same, the shadow practice at 2 in the morning is still happening, but for those savouring limited overs cricket, the greatest pleasure of seeing this man walk out and tear apart oppositions won't be there now. Let's respect his decision and relive the great moments that he's given us," said a former teammate and a close confidant of Tendulkar, requesting anonymity as a mark of respect to the batting great's decision.

Just like the preparation mode - ahead of a match - was unique to Tendulkar, he seemed to have readied himself for giving up limited overs cricket in his own way. Even though his mind was still pushing him to test his boundaries, his body may have told him to save himself for Tests - maybe just a few more if not six that he needs to complete a tally of 200 matches.

For a man who was challenged by career-threatening tennis elbow in 2007, the rebirth - after a painful 'sick' leave from the game of six months - has only seen him set one milestone after another.

Having spent close to two months struggling to lift a cup of tea to playing a stroke with the bat, Tendulkar showed how dedication and daily practice could get you back to life.

Months later, the man was back at his favourite Sydney Cricket Ground in 2008, smashing a lethal Brett Lee to all corners for a magnificent unbeaten 117 in the first final of the tri-series. He followed it up with a 91 in the 2nd final as India achieved their first-ever tri-series triumph Down Under.

Then came the World Cup of 2003, when the scars of the 1996 semifinal at the Eden Gardens returned to haunt him. Later, injured fingers (thanks to the IPL) held him back from wielding those heavy bats in quest of glory in his fifth World Cup. But Tendulkar was ready, having used the time in the run-up to the mega event by setting up a mini-gym at home or spending more time in the pool. The foodie had also turned to boiled chicken and soup to be in shape in pursuit of his 'dream', which became a reality.

Sacrifices have been a part of Tendulkar's life. This time he's chosen to give up ODIs for Tests. Those who think that's he's done and dusted, may do well to wait till March - when is likely to be back to play against Australia in Tests at home. The old brilliance may just be back, that one last time.

Growing up with Sachin | Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

How Tendulkar helped a generation of Indians make sense of their lives

Sachin Tendulkar has retired from one-dayers.

Does this mean anything to you?

Did you feel numb on Sunday morning? Or maybe it was Saturday night in your part of the world. Did the various stages of your life flash in your head, as they are supposed to in the instant before you die?

Do you remember one-dayers 23 years ago? Travel back in time. What do you see? Red leather balls, players in whites and some one-dayers in England with umpires stopping play for tea.

What else do you see? Doordarshan - the feed hanging this moment, back live the next, your grainy screen filled with men who sport stubbles and bushy moustaches, the camera facing the batsman one over and the bowler the next, commentators screaming "that's hit up in the air".

Gradually the texture changes. Coloured clothing and floodlit games become commonplace, fielding restrictions alter the definitions of a "safe total", Duckworth and Lewis appear, so do Powerplays, Supersubs and Super Overs. Pinch-hitters, a novelty for a few years, lose their sheen. Now everyone must pinch, everyone must hit.

Tendulkar has seen it all. Sometimes he has initiated the change, on other occasions he has adapted. A master of the game in the mid '90s, a master in 2011. The one constant in a wildly changing format. He was around when one-dayers were blooming, he was also around when they were allegedly dying.

You have been around too. Are you a kid from the '80s? Or the '90s? Or are you a straddler, part of the Tendulkar generation that has one feet in both decades?

Ah, you stand on the threshold. You have experienced Doordarshan before leaping to the riches of satellite, you have seen Shah Rukh Khan as a fauji on TV before he soared onto the silver screen, you know of life before the internet but are quick to embrace the wonders of technology, you have watched monochrome but are a child of the colour TV age.

What else do you see?

Tendulkar in a white helmet, his white shirt unbuttoned to his thorax, blitzing Abdul Qadir in an exhibition game in Peshawar. Until that point cricket is merely a fuzzy idea. Tendulkar gives it shape, adds meaning, wraps it in colourful paper and winds a ribbon around the packing. He makes you understand the game's place in your life, teaches you its significance.

You grapple, trying to swerve banana out-swingers with a tennis ball. Standing in front of a mirror, you imagine the opposition needing six off the last over. The stadium is a cauldron. A hundred thousand fill the stands. Can you restrict the batsmen?

One morning in 1994, when large parts of India slept, you awake to life and freedom. What a rebellion at Auckland. Eighty-two off 49 balls. A cameo that unshackles the mind. The greatest one-day innings you have seen. Can anyone better this?

You are carried along the Tendulkar slipstream. When he is stumped off Mark Waugh, after illuminating the Mumbai sky, you sense the game will slip away. It does. A few days later his hundred against Sri Lanka in Delhi ends in defeat - the first Tendulkar ton in vain. You hope it's an aberration. You wish.

You observe his every move. In 1996, when he fires a swinging yorker to dismiss Saqlain in Sharjah and sends him off with an emphatic "f**k off", you blush. Four years later your vocabulary has expanded. When he mouths off Glenn McGrath in the Champions Trophy in Nairobi, you puff your chest, as if vindicated.
It's 1998, a time for decisions. Academics or sports? Arts or science? Biology or computers? To meet her or to continue with phone conversations? To buy a copy of Debonair or to take a sneak-peek? These are the burning questions that occupy you.

Do they matter? Tendulkar is dismantling Fleming, Warne and Kasprowicz in Sharjah. A desert storm, a birthday hundred and a ballistic Tony Grieg. A straight six off Warne when he starts around the wicket. Another straight six off Kasprowicz. "Whaddaplayaa," screeches Grieg. It imprints itself in your head.
In your inconsequential gully matches you bat with an amped-up ferocity. You nod to tell the bowler you are ready, you hold your pose during the follow-through, you reverse-sweep and attempt straight-bat paddles. 

You pump your fist when Tendulkar manhandles Henry Olonga in Sharjah.

You start college. You are ragged, often with little imagination. Some of the courses don't interest you. Many of your classmates speak about things you have never heard of, in languages you are not fluent in.
You are sipping tea in the canteen when someone switches on a television set. India are playing Namibia in the World Cup. You find your bearings. This is a familiar world. Tendulkar is nearing a century. This is your comfort zone. The next 10 days are some of the most joyous of your life. That six off Caddick, those fours of Akram and Shoaib ... you feel you have turned a corner.

You hate your job. You begin to care for little other than your pay-cheque. This is not what you expected when you graduated. You assumed this job would be interesting. How wrong you were. Tendulkar is still at it, obsessed with his craft. Despite a lean patch, he says he must go on. He knows no other way.

You are engaged, then married. Life gets busier: an apartment, a car, daily chores. Tendulkar is brutalising Brett Lee in Sydney. An uppish cover drive, then a bullet past the bowler. Lee offers an angelic smile, Tendulkar stands still, zen-like, unconcerned about the past or the future, immersed in the present.

You switch jobs. You like your new role but your boss sucks. He is a slave-driver. You take sly peeks at a live scorecard tab that is open at your desktop as India chase Australia's 351 at Hyderabad. Tendulkar is flying but there is no TV. You wish you could get back home but what if he gets out when you are on your way? Would you be able to forgive yourself? India lose. You call out sick the next day.

You relocate abroad. Cricket matches are on a different time zone. You scavenge illegal internet streams, slap your head when the feed hangs. You are reminded of your days of watching Doordarshan. The sun is yet to rise outside your apartment, and Tendulkar is batting in the 190s against South Africa in Gwalior. Cricinfo is hanging. Cricinfo didn't even exist when Tendulkar started. Your twitter feed is on valium. He has reached 200.

You watch every ball of India's World Cup campaign. How could you not? A hundred in Bangalore, a hundred in Nagpur. You suffer palpitations in Mohali. Then the eruption in Mumbai. Kohli raises him aloft and talks of Tendulkar's burden. He speaks for you. He understands how you feel. There are tears everywhere, including on your cheeks.
Here's John Steinbeck in Cannery Row:
Someone should write an erudite essay on the moral, physical and aesthetic effect of the Model T Ford on the American Nation. Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than the clitoris, about the planetary system of gears than solar system of of stars ... Most of the babies of the period were conceived in Model T Fords and not a few of them were born in them ...
You can apply the same to your generation. To understand us is to take into account the moral, physical and aesthetic effect of Tendulkar. To feel your pain, when he retires from a format he made his own, is to know what it means to grow up with him.

You are the lucky ones. Cherish the memories. He was, and will remain, your Model T.

A career built on reinvention | Sharda Ugra

In limited-overs cricket Tendulkar represents reinvention - of form, of technique, of order, to some extent of the passage of time

On the night of April 2, 2011, the Wankhede Stadium was more than a stadium. It was a wall of volume, a tidal wave of noise that began on land and spread towards the Arabian Sea in the west and the train tracks to the east, as India won the World Cup after 28 years. 

Then, the figure of Sachin Tendulkar was seen sprinting down from the dressing-room stairs onto the grass and his teammates. From the other end of the field where we stood - my colleague Nagraj Gollapudi and I, at ground level - Tendulkar was a speck in a surging sea of specks. 

Yet, driven to an insane joy they will probably never experience again, the crowd spotted the speck, one stand at a time. And the noise began to grow larger, as if it had a tangible, physical size. As if the air had expanded to fit in the sound of 40,000 lungs each calling out to Tendulkar, in a joyful sharing. The stadium, it felt, was about to be lifted off its architecturally solid foundations

This was the last time Sachin Tendulkar played an ODI in India. It was his best of times in the game's short form. Yet he played ten ODIs after the World Cup final, which gave rise to much hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing and plaintive queries of "Why didn't he quit right then?" 

The World Cup was Tendulkar's sixth, and his second final turned out to be successful. That would have been the ideal time to wave goodbye to the one-day game, a movie-script-finish, with thunderous music. But he didn't and maybe he will tell us why he didn't quit the ODI game right then. Or maybe he won't. 

For any neutral Tendulkar observer/watcher/analyst, the decision to linger on and retire from ODI cricket 20 months after winning the World Cup must be handled like a DRS-free, 50-50 umpiring decision. Deal with it, buddy. The last 20 months could either be interpreted as Tendulkar's blip or blemish, his private battle against time or his stubborn refusal to surrender one half of his cricketing identity. 

With the passing of time, though, the 20 months will pale against the monument created by Tendulkar's ODI career in its studious, raging pursuit. The numbers are formidable - 18,426 runs from 463 matches, 49 centuries, 96 fifties, at an average of 44.83 and a strike rate of 86.23 - and won't be matched. But the reason Tendulkar has become the standard by which batsmen must measure themselves in the limited-overs game requires the imagination to be stretched a little beyond those numbers. 

In limited-overs cricket, Tendulkar represents reinvention. Of form, of technique, of order, to some extent of the passage of time. His ODI career was crafted with a riotous method in the first half and scientific consistency in the middle. Towards the end, though, there came unexpected abandon. For everyone who thought they had understood Tendulkar and his approach to one-day batting, around the corner there lay surprise. 

If statistics can be turned into symbols, Tendulkar's highest score fits all this perfectly: 200 not out, the first double-century in ODIs, scored in his 442nd one-day match, when he was two months short of his 37th birthday. In a sport growing younger and faster, 200 off 147 balls came from the most experienced man in the game. 

Tendulkar's surge in ODI cricket - and in India's imagination - had much to do with his constant request to the team manager Ajit Wadekar to allow him to open the innings in 1994. Over and over again he asked for one chance, "And if I fail I'll never ever come to you again." The chance was given and Tendulkar and limited-overs batting and Indian cricket were forever transformed. 

The advent of the attacking opener came to public notice at the 1996 World Cup through Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana. Tendulkar did not have an opening partner to match his pace but by the time the 1996 World Cup began, he had played 32 ODIs as an opener, with four centuries and nine fifties, at a strike rate of 94.

He has often spoken of the impact his ODI batting had on his Test career, in improvisation, widening and making flexible the canvas of his strokeplay in both forms. His peak as an ODI batsman was always carbon-dated to Sharjah 1998, particularly as he chose to play the anchor's role at No. 4 for a while. As a returning opener, Tendulkar accumulated scores with consistency and fluency but without the Sharjah aggro. 
Yet, once past the cricketing dotage of 35, with injuries set aside, Tendulkar the ODI batsman turned up at the top of the order and smashed the clocks.

He won't play the ODI game anymore. His retirement from the short form, whether brought on by an inner voice or a nudge from the selectors, indicates that Tendulkar wants to give his Test match batsmanship another crack, against the Australians next year. It could be his final shot at reinvention.

Tendulkar, Indian emotion, and in the past couple of years some anguished questions, have always travelled together. As he brings his ODI career to a halt, here though are a few less anguished ones. Why didn't Tendulkar lose his way at the age of 25, having gone crazy with the adulation? Why didn't he turn into a boor or a prima donna? Or give the crowd the finger when they booed or heckled him, which they did? Or give up the hardship of Test cricket and coast, like he could have done, in ODIs? Stats cannot measure drive or ambition. Nor indeed its benefits or hindrances.

For the moment, though, a favourite memory of Tendulkar in ODI cricket. It is not the teenager whose cherubic cheeks bulged from under the helmet visor and who wielded his chunky bat like a razor-blade in a knife- fight. Or the boy who grabbed the ball to bowl the last over of the Hero Cup semi-final against South Africa. Or the "desert storm" of 1998, or the upper cut of Centurion, or even the speck in a sea of specks rushing down the steps at the far end of the Wankhede Stadium.

It lasted all of a few, fleeting minutes, in Jaipur. This was the match before the Gwalior 200 not out, the first of three 2010 ODIs against South Africa, who needed seven to win with two balls left. On the penultimate ball, Charl Langeveldt pulled one that travelled at speed past short fine leg. Tendulkar, on the boundary, ran full tilt towards the ball and flung himself, diving and sliding along the ground like he was 16, to get his hands on the ball. The batsmen had taken three and Tendulkar saved a single. India won that match by one run.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

The Seven Phases of Sachin Tendulkar's ODI Career | Srinivas Bhogle - Castrol Cricket

The Master Blaster’s super career has our expert giving you an analysis of the legend’s journey to the pinnacle of world cricket.

There will never be a better ODI batsman than Sachin Tendulkar: 453 matches, 48 centuries including ODI cricket’s only double century, 95 fifties, 18111 runs, 20980 balls faced, average of 45.16, strike rate of 86.33 … no one can scale those peaks!

But while it is easy to agree that Tendulkar is the best, a more interesting question would be: when was Tendulkar himself at his best?

We’re going to argue here that there have so far been seven phases in Tendulkar’s ODI career.

The first phase (Dec 1989 - Mar 1994) was characterized by uncertainty – almost as if the team didn’t know what to do with this young bundle of talent. In 66 innings, he got 12 fifties, 13 sixes, but not a single century! His batting average was 30.8 and strike rate was 74.4. While that might have been better than Sanjay Manjrekar’s strike rate, it still wasn’t good enough.

The second phase (Mar 1994 - Dec 1997) – a phase of discovery – began with Tendulkar offering to open the innings against New Zealand at Auckland after Sidhu was injured. Taking advantage of field restrictions, and short square boundaries, Tendulkar scored a blistering 82 in 49 balls – and left everyone wondering why he hadn’t been asked to open before. He also began lofting the ball freely, averaging 0.44 sixes per match. In this break free phase, Tendulkar’s average jumped to 43.4 in 101 innings and his strike rate climbed to an impressive 86.6. He also started scoring centuries – in fact 12 of them.

The third phase (Jan 1998 – Dec 1999) was explosive. Tendulkar was batting with the sort of aggression and authority never seen before in ODI cricket. In just 24 months, he scored 2737 runs in just 2805 balls. A strike rate of a run-a-ball was considered beyond the reach of mere mortals those days. In 55 innings, Tendulkar averaged 55.9, hit 54 sixes, and slammed 12 more centuries, including those two magical hundreds against Australia in the Sharjah desert storm.

Tendulkar was masterly during the fourth phase (Jan 2000 – Dec 2003) but always stayed a notch below his Mount Everest. He still averaged 50.8 over 90 innings, he again scored 12 centuries, he could still briefly climb the top peak – as he did when he scored 98 against Pakistan in that World Cup game – but the smallest of dips in form was now apparent. His strike rate dropped to 86.3 – unarguably excellent, but no longer superlative. And his number of sixes dropped from 1 per innings to about 1 in 3 innings.

The fifth phase (Jan 2004 – Dec 2006) was the most trying in Tendulkar’s ODI career. As injuries hit him in quick succession, the great player was driven by doubt and ravaged by pain. For a small – and mercifully brief – period, Tendulkar batted like a mere mortal: he scored 1852 runs in 53 innings to average 37.8 with a strike rate of just 78.4 and with just 4 centuries. It was painful to watch – and when Ian Chappell suggested that the master’s time was up, we felt the aching grief that accompanies the impending departure of someone truly beloved.

The sixth phase (Jan 2007 – Dec 2008) was one of rejuvenation. Almost everyone wrote him off (remember Times of India’s ‘Endulkar?’ headline), but Tendulkar himself didn’t. Showing the sort of grit and determination that no cricketing great has demonstrated (even Sir Viv Richards faded embarrassingly in his last years), Tendulkar clawed his way back to the top. He scored 1885 runs in 44 innings; his batting average rose to 46, the strike rate too went up to 85. But Tendulkar was still batting with circumspection: with an average of just 0.27 sixes per match and just 2 centuries during this phase (he missed 6 centuries).

Cricket pundits declared that Tendulkar had changed his batting style by cutting down attacking stroke-play. Tendulkar didn’t seem to agree and often reiterated that his batting style hadn’t changed. As if to prove his point, Tendulkar entered the seventh phase (Jan 2009 – Apr 11) of his ODI cricket career that can only be called magical. In 33 innings, Tendulkar has scored 1689 runs, including a 200 against South Africa, at an average of 56.30. His strike rate during this phase is almost 100, he has six hundreds and again averages a high 0.75 sixes per innings.

To put it simply: Tendulkar is back to his very best. 13 years after climbing the lofty peak of 1998, the great man has recreated his halcyon days all over again. To top it all he has also achieved his dream of lifting the World Cup. I don’t think there can be a better cricketing fairy tale.